Full text of "Silence"
Cornell University Library
PG 3452.S5 1910
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tine Cornell University Library.
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MODERN AUTHORS' SERIES
Translated from the Russian
By BROWN BROTHERS
When Maxim Gorky had finished writing
that wonderful series of tramp stories which
astonished by their force and originaHty the
outside world no less than the native, when it
became evident that his contact with the civi-
lized world and his entry into the political
arena had not served to add to his literary
prestige, there appeared on the scene a young
man, by the name of Leonidas Andreiyeff, with
a small volume of tales, fittingly dedicated to
the author of " Chelkash."
It was one of those peculiarly timed events,
which occur occasionally in the domain of lit-
erature no less in that of history, when a man
of genius appears in our midst — in the nick of
time, as it were — to carry on some unfinished
work, and to hammer the next link in the chain
of prevailing circumstances. Since this initial
production Andreiyeff has been unusually pro-
lific, having several volumes of short stories to
his credit and a number of plays, the latter be-
ing a late development.
There are critics who are inclined to place
Andreiyeff above Gorky. This is hardly fair
to either man. Both are thorough moderns,
both are rebels against the life that is, both
have shown a decided leaning toward the
Nietzschean view, the religion of individual-
ism, have expounded through their art the place
which the Ego occupies in our lives ; both have
attracted the young generation, have raised a
storm of applause and protest from antagonis-
tic factions, at the same time laying their im-
press upon their time by influencing armies of
young writers. The rich, red blood, the crude
blind force — are Gorky's; the refinement, the
conscious artistry — are Andreiyefif's. Though
linked in their literary sympathies, each man
stands on his own footing.
Andreiyeflf's earlier stories, one of which is
presented here, are characterized particularly
by their purely artistic quality, rather than by
the iconoclastic spirit which marks his later
work. " Silence " has no moral to teach, no
idea to inculcate. It is simply a story — or bet-
ter, a melancholy poem, in which the reader is
subjected to a series of heart pangs, and is
forced to listen to a music, in which the domi-
nant motif is a terrible, oppressive and crush-
ing silence. We are compelled to strain our
ear to catch the least noise which might break
that silence — but it never comes.
One moonlit night in May, while the night-
ingales sang, Father Ignatius' wife entered his
chamber. Her countenance expressed suffer-
ing, and the little lamp she held in her hand
trembled. Approaching her husband, she
touched his shoulder, and managed to say be-
tween her sobs :
" Father, let us go to Verochka."
Without turning his head, Father Igfnatius
glanced severely at his wife over the rims of
his spectacles, and looked long and intently, till
she waved her unoccupied hand and dropped
on a low divan.
" That one toward the other be so pitiless ! "
she pronounced slowly, with emphasis on the
final syllables, and her good plump face was
distorted with a grimace of pain and exaspera-
tion, as if in this manner she wished to express
what stern people they were — her husband and
Father Ignatius smiled and arose. Closing
his book, he removed his spectacles, placed
them in the case and meditated. His long,
black beard, inwoven with silver threads, lay
dignified on his breast, and it slowly heaved at
every deep breath,
"Well, let us go!" said he.
Olga Stepanovna quickly arose and entreated
in an appealing, timid voice:
" Only don't revile her, father ! You know
the sort she is."
Vera's chamber was in the attic, and the
narrow, wooden stair bent and creaked under
the heavy tread of Father Ignatius. Tall and
ponderous, he lowered his head to avoid strik-
ing the floor of the upper story, and frowned
disdainfully when the white jacket of his wife
brushed his face. Well he knew that nothing
would come of their talk with Vera.
" Why do you come ? " asked Vera, raising
a bared arm to her eyes. The other arm lay
on top of a white summer blanket hardly dis-
tinguishable from the fabric, so white, trans-
lucent and cold was its aspect.
" Verochka ! " began her mother, but sob-
bing, she grew silent.
" Vera ! " said her father, making an effort
to soften his dry and hard voice. " Vera, tell
us, what troubles you ? "
Vera was silent.
" Vera, do not we, your mother and I, de-
serve your confidence? Do we not love you?
And is there some one nearer to you than we ?
Tell us about your sorrow, and believe me
you'll feel better for it. And we too. Look
at your aged mother, how much she suffers ! "
"And I , . ." The dry voice trembled,
truly something had broken in it. "And I . , .
do you think I find it easy? As if I did not
see that some sorrow is gnawing at you — and
what is it? And I, your father, do not know
what it is. Is it right that it should be so ? "
Vera was silent. Father Ignatius very cau-
tiously stroked his beard, as if afraid that his
fingers would enmesh themselves involuntarily
in it, and continued :
"Against my wish you went to St. Peters-
burg — did I pronounce a curse upon you, you
who disobeyed me? Or did I not give you
money? Or, you'll say, I have not been kind?
Well, why then are you silent ? There, you've
had your St. Petersburg ! "
Father Ignatius became silent, and an image
arose before him of something huge, of granite,
and terrible, full of invisible dangers and
strange and indifferent people. And there,
alone and weak, was his Vera and there they
had lost her. An awful hatred against that
terrible and mysterious city grew in the soul of
Father Ignatius, and an anger against his
daughter who was silent, obstinately silent.
" St. Petersburg has nothing to do with it,"
said Vera, morosely, and closed her eyes. "And
nothing is the matter with me. Better go to
bed, it is late."
" Verochka," whimpered her mother. " Lit-
tle daughter, do confess to me."
"Akh, mamma ! " impatiently Vera inter-
Father Ignatius sat down on a chair and
" Well, then it's nothing? " he inquired, iron-
" Father," sharply put in Vera, rai'sing her-
self from the pillow, " you know that I love you
and mother. Well, I do feel a little weary.
But that will pass. Do go to sleep, and I also
wish to sleep. And to-morrow, or some other
time, we'll have a chat."
Father Ignatius impetuously arose so that
the chair hit the wall, and took his wife's hand.
" Let us go."
" Let us go, I tell you ! " shouted Father
Ignatius. " If she has forgotten God, shall
we . . ."
Almost forcibly he led Olga Stepanovna out
of the room, and when they descended the
stairs, his wife, decreasing her gait, said in a
harsh whisper :
" It was you, priest, who have made her such.
From you she learnt her ways. And you'll an-
swer for it. Akh, unhappy creature that I
And she wept, and, as her eyes filled with
tears, her foot, missing a step, would descend
with a sudden jolt, as if she were eager to fall
into some existent abyss below.
Fl-om that day Father Ignatius ceased to
speak with his daughter, but she seemed not to
notice it. As before she lay in her room, or
walked about, continually wiping her eyes with
the palms of her hands as if they contained
some irritating foreign substance. And
crushed between these two silent people, the
jolly, fun-loving wife of the priest quailed and
seemed lost, not knowing what to say or do.
Occasionally Vera took a stroll. A week fol-
lowing the interview she went out in the even-
ing, as was her habit. She was not seen alive
again, as on this evening she threw herself
under the train, which cut her in two.
Father Ignatius himself directed the funeral.
His wife was not present in church, as at the
news of Vera's death she was prostrated by a
stroke. She lost control of her feet, hands and
tongue, and she lay motionless in the semi-
darkened room when the church bells rang out.
She heard the people, as they issued out of
church and passed the house, intone the chants,
and she made an effort to raise her hand, and
to make a sign of the cross, but her hand re-
fused to obey ; she wished to say : " Farewell,
Vera ! " but the tongue lay in her mouth huge
and heavy. And her attitude was so calm,
that it gave one an impression of restfulness
or sleep. Only her eyes remained open.
At the funeral, in church, were many people
who knew Father Ignatius and many stran-
gers, and all bewailed Vera's terrible death,
and tried to find in the movements and voice of
Father Ignatius tokens of a deep sorrow.
They did not love Father Ignatius because of
his severity and proud manners, his scorn of
sinners, for his unforgiving spirit, his envy
and covetousness, his habit of utilizing every
opportunity to extort money from his parish-
ioners. They all wished to see him suffer, to
see his spirit broken, to see him conscious in
his two-fold guilt for the death of his daughter
— as a cruel father and a bad priest — incapable
of preserving his own flesh from sin. They
cast searching glances at him, and he, feeling
these glances directed toward his back, made
efforts to hold erect its broad and strong ex-
panse, and his thoughts were not concerning
his dead daughter, but concerning his own
"A hardened priest ! " said, with a shake of
his head, Karzenoff, a carpenter, to whom
Father Ignatius owed five roubles for frames.
And thus, hard and erect. Father Ignatius
reached the burial ground, and in the same
manner he returned. Only at the door of his
wife's chamber did his spine relax a little, but
this may have been due to the fact that the
height of the door was inadequate to admit his
tall figure. The change from broad daylight
made it difficult for him to distinguish the face
of his wife, but, after scrutiny, he was aston-
ished at its calmness and because the eyes
showed no tears. And there was neither anger,
nor sorrow in the eyes — they were dumb, and
they kept silent with difficulty, reluctantly, as
did the entire plump and helpless body, press-
ing against the feather bedding.
" Well, how do you feel ? " inquired Father
The lips, however, were dumb ; the eyes also
were silent. Father Ignatius laid his hand on
her forehead ; it was cold and moist, and Olga
Stepanovna did not show in any way that she
had felt the hand's contact. When Father Ig-
natius removed his hand there gazed at him, im-
mobile, two deep grey eyes, seeming almost en-
' tirely dark from the dilated* pupils, and there
was neither sadness in them, nor anger.
" I am going into my own room," said Father
Ignatius, who began to feel cold and terror.
He passed through the drawing-room, where
everything appeared neat and in order, as
usual, and where, attired in white covers, stood
tall chairs, like corpses in their shrouds. Over
one window hung an empty wire cage, with the
" Nastasya ! " shouted Father Ignatius, and
his voice seemed to him coarse, and he felt ill
at ease because he raised his voice so high in
these silent rooms, so soon after his daughter's
funeral. " Nastasya ! " he called out in a lower
tone of voice, " where is the canary? "
" She flew away, to be sure."
" Why did you let it out?"
Nastasya began to weep, and wiping her face
with the edges of her calico headkerchief , said
through her tears:
" It was my young mistress's soul. Was it
right to hold it?"
And it seemed to Father Ignatius that the
yellow, happy little canary, always singing
with inclined head, was really the soul of Vera,
and if it had not flown away it wouldn't have
been possible to say that Vera had died. He
became even more incensed at the maid-ser-
vant, and shouted :
"Off with you!"
And when Nastasya did not find the door
at once he added :
From the day of the funeral silence reigned
in the little house. It was not stillness, for
stillness is merely the absence of sounds ; it was
silence, because it seemed that they who were
silent could say something but would not. So
thought Father Ignatius each time he entered
his wife's chamber and met that obstinate gaze,
so heavy in its aspect that it seemed to trans-
form the very air into lead, which bore down
one's head and spine. So thought he, examin-
ing his daughter's music sheets, which bore im-
prints of her voice, as well as her books and
her portrait, which she brought with her from
St. Petersburg. Father Ignatius was accus-
tomed to scrutinize the portrait in established
order : First, he would gaze on the cheek upon
which a strong light was thrown by the painter ;
in his fancy he would see upon it a slight
wound, which he had noticed on Vera's cheek
in death, and the source of which he could not
understand. Each time he would meditate
upon causes; he reasoned that if it was made
by the train the entire head would have been
crushed, whereas the head of Vera remained
wholly untouched. It was possible that some-
one did it with his foot when the corpse was re-
moved, or accidentally with a finger nai l. ^— ^
To contemplate at length upon the details of
Vera's death taxed the strength of Father
Ignatius, so that he would pass on to the eyes.
These were dark, handsome, with long lashes,
which cast deep shadows beneath, causing the
whites to seem particularly luminous, both eyes
appearing to be inclosed in black, mourning
frames. A strange expression was given them
by the unknown but talented artist ; it seemed as
if in the space between the eyes and the object
upon which they gazed there lay a thin, trans-
parent film. It resembled somewhat the effect
obtained by an imperceptible layer of dust on
the black top of a piano, softening the shine of
polished wood. And no matter how Father
Ignatius placed the portrait, the eyes insistently
followed him, but there was no speech in them,
only silence; and this silence was so clear that
it seemed it could be heard. And gradually
Father Ignatius began to think that he heard
Every morning after breakfast Father Igna-
tius would enter the drawing-room, throw a
rapid glance at the empty cage and the other
familiar objects, and seating himself in the
armchair would close his eyes and listen to the
silence of the house. There was something gro-
tesque about this. The cage kept silence, stilly
and tenderly, and in this silence were felt sor-
row and tears, and distant dead laughter. The
silence of his wife, softened by the walls, con-
tinued insistent, heavy as lead, and terrible, so
terrible that on the hottest day Father Ignatius
would be seized by cold shivers. Continuous
and cold as the grave, and mysterious as death,
was the silence of his daughter. The silence
itself seemed to share this sufiFering and strug-
gled, as it were, with the terrible desire to pass
into speech; however, something strong and
cumbersome, as a machine, held it motionless
and stretched it out as a wire. And somewhere
at the distant end, the wire would begin to agi-
tate and resound subduedly, feebly and plain-
tively. With joy, yet with terror. Father
Ignatius would seize upon this engendered
sound, and resting with his arms upon the arms
of the chair, would lean his head forward,
awaiting the sound to reach him. But the
sound would break and pass into silence.
" How stupid ! " muttered Father Ignatius,
angrily, arising from the chair, still erect and
tall. Through the window he saw, suffused
with sunlight, the street, which was paved with
round, even-sized stones, and directly across,
the stone wall of a long, windowless shed. On
the corner stood a cab-driver, resembling a clay
statue, and it was difficult to understand why
he stood there, when for hours there was not
a single passer-by.
Father Ignatius had occasion for consider-
able speech outside his house. There was talk-
ing to be done with the clergy, with the mem-
bers of his flock, while officiating at ceremo-
nies, sometimes with acquaintances at social
evenings ; yet, upon his return he would feel in-
variably that the entire day he had been sil-
ent. This was due to the fact that with none
of those people he could talk upon that matter
which concerned him most, and upon which
he would contemplate each night: Why did
Father Ignatius did not seem to understand
that now this could not be known, and still
thought it was possible to know. Each night —
all his nights had become sleepless — ^he would
picture that minute when he and his wife, in
dead midnight, stood near Vera's bed, and he
entreated her : " Tell us ! " And when in his
recollection, he would reach these words, the
rest appeared to him not as it was in reality.
His closed eyes, preserving in their darkness a
live and undimmed picture of that night, saw
how Vera raised herself in her bed, smiled and
tried to say something. And what was that
she tried to say? That unuttered word of
Vera's, which should have solved all, seemed
so near, that if one only had bent his ear and
suppressed the beats of his heart, one could
have heard it, and at the same time it was so
infinitely, so hopelessly distant. Father Igna-
tius would arise from his bed, stretch forth his
joined hands and, wringing them, would ex-
And he would be answered by silence.
One evening Father Ignatius entered the
chamber of Olga Stepanovna, whom he had
not come to see for a week, seated himself at
her head, and turning away from that insistent,
heavy gaze, said:
" Mother ! I wish to talk to you about Vera.
Do you hear ? "
Her eyes were silent, and Father Ignatius
raising his voice, spoke sternly and powerfully,
as he was accustomed to speak with penitents :
" I am aware that you are under the impres-
sion that I have been the cause of Vera's death.
Reflect, however, did I love her less than you
loved her ? You reason absurdly. I have been
stern; did that prevent her from doing as she
wished. I have forfeited the dignity of a
father, I humbly bent my neck, when she de-
fied my malediction and departed — hence. And
you — did you not entreat her to remain, until
I command you to be silent. Did I beget
cruelty in her ? Did I not teach her about God,
about humility, about love ? "
Father Ignatius quickly glanced into the eyes
of his wife, and turned away.
" What was there for me to do when she did
not wish to reveal her sorrow ? Did I not com-
mand her? Did I not entreat her? I suppose,
in your opinion, I should have dropped on my
knees before the maid, and cried like an old
woman ! How should I know what was going
on in her head ! Cruel, heartless daughter ! "
Father Ignatius hit his knees with his fist,
"There was no love in her — that's what!
As far as I'm concerned, that's settled, of
course — I'm a tyrant ! Perhaps she loved you
— ^you, who wept and humbled yourself ? "
Father Ignatius gave a hollow laugh.
" There's love for you ! And as a solace for
you, what a death she chose ! A cruel, ignomin-
ious death. She died in the dust, in the dirt —
as a d-dog who is kicked in the jaw."'
The voice of Father Ignatius sounded low
and hoarse :
" I feel ashamed ! Ashamed to go out in the
street! Ashamed before the altar! Ashamed
before God! Cruel, undeserving daughter!
Accurst in thy grave ! "
When Father Ignatius glanced at his wife
she was unconscious, and revived only after
several hours. When she regained conscious-
ness her eyes were silent, and it was impossible
to tell whether or not she remembered what
Father Ignatius had said.
That very night — it was a moonlit, calm,
warm and deathly-still night in May — Father
Ignatius, proceeding on his tip-toes, so as not
to be overheard by his wife and the sick-nurse,
climbed up the stairs and entered Vera's room.
The window in the attic had remained closed
since the death of Vera, and the atmosphere
was dry and warm, with a light odor of burning
that comes from heat generated during the day
in the iron roof. The air of Hfelessness and
abandonment permeated the apartment, which
for a long time had remained unvisited, and
where the timber of the walls, the furniture
and other objects gave forth a slight odor of
continued putrescence. A bright streak of
moonHght fell on the window-sill, and on the
floor, and, reflected by the white, carefully
washed boards, cast a dim light into the room's
corners, while the white, clean bed, with two
pillows, one large and one small, seemed phan-
tom-like and aerial. Father Ignatius opened
the window, causing to pour into the room a
considerable current of fresh air, smelling of
dust, of the nearby river and the blooming lin-
den. An indistinct sound as of voices in
chorus also entered occasionally; evidently
young people rowed and sang.
Quietly treading with naked feet, resembl-
ing a white phanton. Father Ignatius made his
way to the vacant bed, bent his knees and fell
face down on the pillows, embracing them —
on that spot where should have been Vera's
face. Long he lay thus ; the song grew louder,
then died out; but he still lay there, while his
long, black hair spread over his shoulders and
The moon had changed its position, and the
room grew darker, when Father Ignatius raised
his head and murmured, putting into his voice
the entire strength of his long-suppressed and
unconscious love and hearkening to his own
words, as if it were not he who was listening,
" Vera, daughter mine ! Do you understand
what you are to me, daughter? Little daugh-
ter ! My heart, my blood and my life. Your
father — ^your old father — is already grey, and
The shoulders of Father Ignatius shook and
the entire burdened figure became agitated.
Suppressing his agitation. Father Ignatius
murmured tenderly, as to an infant:
" Your old father entreats you. No, little
Vera, he supplicates. He weeps. He never
has wept before. Your sorrow, little child,
your sufferings — they are also mine. Greater
Father Ignatius shook his head.
" Greater, Verochka. What is death to an
old man like me? But you — If you only knew
how delicate and weak and timid you are ! Do
you recall how you bruised your finger once
and the blood trickled and you cried a little?
My child! I know that you love me, love me
intensely. Every morning you kiss my hand.
Tell me, do tell me, what grief troubles your
little head, and I — with these hands — shall
smother your grief. They are still strong,
Vera, these hands."
The hair of Father Ignatius shook.
Father Ignatius fixed his eyes on the wall,
and wrung his hands.
Stillness prevailed in the room, and from
afar was heard the prolonged and broken
whistle of a locomotive.
Father Ignatius, gazing out of his dilated
eyes, as if there had arisen suddenly before
him the frightful phantom of the mutilated
corpse, slowly raised himself from his knees,
and with a credulous motion reached for his
head with his hand, with spread and tensely
stifiFened fingers. Making a step toward the
door. Father Ignatius whispered brokenly:
And he was answered by silence.
The next day, after an early and lonely din-
ner, Father Ignatus went to the graveyard, the
first time since his daughter's death. It was
warm, deserted and still; it seemed more like
an illumined night. Following habit, Father
Ignatius, with effort, straightened his spine,
looked severely about him and thought that he
was the same as formerly; he was conscious
neither of the new, terrible weakness in his
legs, nor that his long beard had become en-
tirely white as if a hard frost had hit it. The
road to the graveyard led through a long, direct
street, slightly on an upward incline, and at its
termination loomed the arch of the graveyard
gate, resembling a dark, perpetually open
mouth, edged with glistening teeth.
Vera's grave was situated in the depth of
the grounds, where the sandy little pathways
terminated, and Father Ignatius, for a consid-
erable time, was obliged to blunder along the
narrow footpaths, which led in a broken line
between green mounds, by all forgotten and
abandoned. Here and there appeared, green
with age, sloping tombstones, broken railings
and large, heavy stones planted in the ground,
and seemingly crushing it with some cruel,
ancient spite. Near one such stone was the
grave of Vera. It was covered with fresh
turf, turned yellow; around, however, all was
in bloom. Ash embraced maple tree; and the
widely spread hazel bush stretched out over the
grave its bending branches with their downy,
shaggy foliage. Sitting down on a neighbor-
ing grave and catching his breath. Father
Ignatius looked around him, throwing a glance
upon the cloudless, desert sky, where in com-
plete immovability, hung the glowing sun disk
— and here he only felt that deep, incomparable
stillness which reigns in graveyards, when the
wind is absent and the slumbering foliage has
ceased its rustling. And anew the thought
came to Father Ignatius that this was not a
stillness but a silence. It extended to the very
brick walls of the graveyard, crept over them
and occupied the city. And it terminated only
— in those grey, obstinate and reluctantly silent
Father Ignatius' shoulders shivered, and he
lowered his eyes upon the grave of Vera. He
gazed long upon the little tufts of grass up-
rooted together with the earth from some open,
wind-swept field and not successful in adapting
themselves to a strange soil; he could not im-
agine that there, under this grass, only a few
feet from him, lay Vera. And this nearness
seemed incomprehensible and brought confu-
sion into the soul and a strange agitation. She,
of whom Father Ignatius was accustomed to
think as of one passed away forever into the
dark depths of eternity, was here, close by —
and it was hard to understand that she, never-
theless, was no more and never again would
be. And in the mind's fancy of Father Igna-
tius it seemed that if he could only utter some
word, which was almost upon his lips, or if he
could make some sort of movement. Vera
would issue forth from her grave and arise to
the same height and beauty that was once hers.
And not alone would she arise, but all corpses,
intensely sensitive in their solemnly-cold sil-
Father Ignatius removed his wide-brimmed
black hat, smoothed down his disarranged hair
Father Ignatius felt ill at ease, fearing to be
overheard by a stranger, and stepping on the
grave he gazed around him. No one was pre-
sent, and this time he repeated loudly:
It was the voice of an aged man, sharp and
demanding, and it was strange that a so power-
fully expressed desire should remain without
Loudly and insistently the voice called, and
when it relapsed into silence, it seemed for a
moment that somewhere from underneath
came an incoherent answer. And Father Igna-
tius, clearing his ear of his long hair, pressed it
to the rough, prickly turf.
"Vera, tell me!"
With terror, Father Ignatius felt pouring
into his ear something cold as of the grave,
which froze his marrow; Vera seemed to be
speaking — speaking, however, with the same
unbroken silence. This feeling became more
racking and terrible, and when Father Ignatius
forced himself finally to tear away his head, his
face was pale as that of a corpse, and he fan-
cied that the entire atmosphere trembled and
palpitated from a resounding silence, and that
this terrible sea was being swept by a wild hur-
ricane. The silence strangled him; with icy
waves it rolled through his head and agitated
the hair; it smote against his breast, which
groaned under the blows. Trembling from
head to foot, casting around him sharp and
sudden glances, Father Ignatius slowly raised
himself and with a prolonged and torturous
effort attempted to straighten his spine and to
give proud dignity to his trembling body. He
succeeded in this. With measured protractive-
ness, Father Ignatius shook the dirt from his
knees, put on his hat, made the sign of the cross
three times over the grave, and. walked away
with an even and firm gait, not recognizing,
however, the familiar burial ground and losing
" Well, here I've gone astray ! " smiled Fa-
ther Ignatius, halting at the branching of the
He stood there for a moment, and, unreflect-
ing turned to the left, because it was impossible
to stand and to wait. The silence drove him
on. It arose from the green graves ; it was the
breath issuing from the grey, melancholy
crosses; in thin, stifling currents it came from
all pores of the earth, satiated with the dead.
Father Ignatius increased his stride. Dizzy,
he circled the same paths, jumped over graves,
stumbled across railings, clutching with his
hands the prickly, metallic garlands, and turn-
ing the soft material of his dress into tatters.
His sole thought was to escape. He fled from
one place to another, and finally broke into a
dead run, seeming very tall and unusual in the
flowing cassock, and his hair streaming in the
wind. A corpse arisen from the grave could
not have frightened a passer-by more than this
wild figure of a man, running and leaping, and
waving his arms, his face distorted and insane,
and the open mouth breathing with a dull,
hoarse sound. With one long leap. Father
Ignatius landed on a little street, at one end of
which appeared the small church attached to
the graveyard. At the entrance, on a low
bench, dozed an old man, seemingly a distant
pilgrim, and near him, assailing each other,
were two quarreling old beggar women, filling
the air with their oaths.
When Father Ignatius reached his home, it
was already dusk, and there was light in Olga
Stepanovna's chamber. Not undressing and
without removing his hat, dusty and tattered,
Father Ignatius approached his wife and fell
on his knees.
"Mother . . . Olga . . . have pity on
me ! " he wept. " I shall go mad."
He dashed his head against the edge of the
table and he wept with anguish, as one who was
weeping for the first time. Then he raised his
head, confident that a miracle would come to
pass, that his wife would speak and would
With his entire big body he drew himself to-
ward his wife — and met the gaze of those grey
eyes. There was neither compassion in them,
nor anger. It was possible his wife had for-
given him, but in her eyes there was neither
pity, nor anger. They were dumb and silent.
And silent was the entire dark, deserted